Access Leads to Ability, Barriers Create Disability.

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.- Galatians 6:2

Change continues. 2000 years after the 34 years Jesus taught us how to change and live.

Today along with having an ageing population, many people are living with chronic illness, and disabilities, and we are also discovering and learning more about

All Are Welcome at the Table to Eat -AGAPE

invisible differences and conditions like developmental and learning disabilities, mental illness and certain chronic conditions.

Accessiblechurch.ca has been created to help church members who want to find out what can be done to make their churches more accessible to people who are different, disabled or living with disease. Including but going beyond ramps, and hearing loops, to barriers facing others. Many barriers can be reduced or eliminated with solutions that are of low or no cost. Many can addressed with information available on the internet. 

Remove or find ways around barriers to church and more people will come, and many who already attend will benefit and continue to come. This in turn will lead to healing  of the whole church. The church is broken when we exclude fellow Christians, intentionally or unintentionally.  When exclude others we harm ourselves.  Barriers need to be addressed by the whole  church in order for them to be removed. Often this can be done with just basic education and higher levels of awareness that barriers can be overcome.

As society changes, new barriers are being created for some, and emerging technologies are being created that are enabling accessibility for others. People who need to work on Sundays, are an example of people who now face barriers to church services,  Also as our communities become more diverse, barriers are increasing between people due to language and cultural differences, while at the same time the Internet and computer technologies are reducing barriers between other people. Historical barriers created by racism, sexism, poverty, and homophobia still exist, although some of them are decreasing.

Many with certain “disabilities” do not consider themselves disabled, they just consider themselves different, and like others we are only disabled when facing barriers. 
 
 
Unless you are dealing with overcoming barriers for an individual now, an Accessibility audit of your church is a good place to start. This is because accessibility is a process, we will always have barriers to overcome, so by setting up a system to address barriers is useful for all. Their will always be barriers to overcome and no single church can become fully accessible to all. So it is good to work with other local churches and address barriers in cooperation with them. Every Church has their own limitations of time, money and other resources, but by working together, churches can overcome all of their barriers to accessibility. In the long term reducing barriers will make  create more resources for you church. 

You can work towards a more accessible church by just putting some time and thought towards accessibility issues when planning projects or changes.

 
 We want to help educate and change change attitudes of individuals and advocate for changes that remove barriers in local congregations, as well as other aspects of the whole Church. 
 

All People Face Barriers

AccessibleChurch.ca encourages you to promote access for all people, and not just focus on those those who are disabled, different, living with illness, but as well as those living in institutions, those that face barriers due to employment (i.e. workers who are obliged to work Sundays), age, and those that face historical discrimination like First Nations people, as well as those in recovery from addictions, sexual minorities, the homeless, street involved, and people living in poverty. 

People living with Illness or disabilities also face barriers like others that are not related to their disability. 
 ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

People are not just a disability .An elderly women who uses a wheelchair can also be a lesbian of first nations descent. In fact historically oppressed people are more likely to have disabilities caused by the oppression. First Nations People are twice as likely to need to use adaptive devices for physical impairments.

Some barriers for those who are differently abled are also barriers for others. People who do not read English, for example face the same barriers in Church, whether it is because they have low vision, did not learn to read, or who speak another language.



What this site hopes to do is show you how you can use free resources on the Internet to improve access to your church for people with disabilities and the differently abled. Throughout the Accessible Church web site we use Bible verses, pictures, videos and music to help explain certain ideas. and make the information more accessible to those with different learning styles and disabilities.


 
 

How Accessible Church.ca is Organised 

On the right hand column you will find links which which provides links to the main section of Accessible Church.


1) An Article explaining the Social Model of Disability. This article explains a key concept underlying accessible church.ca

2) An Article explaining the concept of barriers, the kinds that there are, and who they affect the most. 

4) Our Twitter section with daily information on issues concerning accessibility projects and programs of churches and other groups, We have several separate lists including ones on accessibility, another on Spirit and Religion, one on Autism, and another on HIV and AIDS. We could use more lists, but these are the topics I am most informed and interested in.

5) Accessibility Audits and Guides to Accessibility produced by various British, American and Canadian Churches for their local congregations. It is where we recommend a person interested in improving accessibility start. However these audits are limited and do not give you a list of barriers for all differently abled people. However they are able to give you a place to start. However what would be better if you start working with those with disabilites alreay attending, or their care givers and family members.

6) Accessibility Resources for those in the United Church Canada, as well as Internet resources that might be of interest to people facing barriers to a local United Church. Learn a little know secret of how you can make your order of service accessible to people with conditions affecting millions of Canadians, using no money, or more then a few minutes a week of volunteer time.

7) Theological Reflections from Churches, Religious groups, and believers.

8) A collection of verses from the Bible that might be of use to people to address accessibility issues.

9) Disability as a Social Justice Issue, this section explains why.








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